Delta State announces Family Roadshow

By | Alumni, Community, Faculty/Staff, President, Students | No Comments

The Delta State University Family Roadshow is coming to a Mississippi Delta town near you this summer, just in time to get ready for another exciting fall semester.

Over a three-week period, President William N. LaForge, head football coach Todd Cooley and representatives from campus will be traveling to five counties in the Delta to give updates and connect with Statesmen and Lady Statesmen alumni, fans and supporters. The event is made possible by a partnership between the National Alumni Association, Department of Athletics and Delta State University.

“The surrounding communities are an important part of the Delta State family,” said LaForge. “We are excited to reach out to our friends, fans, alumni and supporters in their hometowns and in such a unique way. I invite all supporters of the Green and White to come out to show the flag.”

There are six scheduled stops on the Delta State Family Roadshow, with Vince’s Restaurant in Leland being the first on July 13 at 6 p.m.

“This is an exciting time at Delta State and we want to involve every corner of the Mississippi Delta,” said Cooley. “We are the Delta’s university, and we want everyone to join the family.”

Greenwood, the second scheduled stop on the Roadshow, is set for July 16 at the Elk’s Lodge. Larry’s Fish House will provide the meal.

On July 20, the show makes a stop at the B.B. King Museum in Indianola for an event in Sunflower County. Dinner will be catered by local favorite The Blue Biscuit.

Clarksdale will host the following event on Aug. 3 at the Coahoma County Higher Education Center. Legendary Abe’s Barbecue will provide the meal.

Cleveland will be the final stop as the Cleveland Country Club hosts the third annual DSU Family Bash on Aug. 6. The event begins at 6 p.m. with a social followed by a family style dinner at 7 p.m.

Detailed information and the opportunity to RSVP for any one of the stops on the Delta State Family Roadshow is available at www.DeltaStateGiving.Org/alumniassociation/roadshow or by contacting the DSU Alumni Association at 662-846-4660.

Camesha Benson '05 was named the June 2015 Employee of the Month.

Benson named Employee of the Month

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The Delta State University Staff Council recently honored Camesha Benson as the June 2015 Employee of the Month. Benson is the assistant director of Student Business Services.

A native of Water Valley, Miss., Benson came to Delta State to further her education. Upon receiving her bachelor’s degree in 2005 in business administration, she took a senior secretary position in the Division of Teacher Education. She later transferred to Student Business Services.

“I was taught to do my best, never give up and to always remain humble,” said Benson. “My co-workers are the best any office can have. We motivate, encourage and work well together. I greatly appreciate the person who nominated me, as well as the members of staff council who saw fit for me to become employee of the month. Receiving this recognition for the second time is truly an honor. This lets me know that hard work, regardless of circumstances, does pay off.”

Employee of the Month distinction is given to a staff member who has provided service at Delta State that is considered over and beyond those duties outlined in his or her job description. Nominations are submitted by colleagues on campus.

Each winner receives a plaque, monetary award, WalMart gift card from the Student Government Association, an engraved insulated coffee mug, a free parking decal courtesy of the Campus Police Department, a box of treats from The Sweetery, a parking spot of their choice, marquee announcement and website recognition.

For an archived list of previous Employee of the Month winners, visit

Delta State’s Staff Council serves as a liaison between the administration and the staff to provide a formal process for staff to discuss issues involving university policies and procedures and to forward ideas, recommendations and opinions to the president.

Alumna Jeanna Dacey Wilkes will serve as the new director of Student Life at Delta State University.

Wilkes named new director of Student Life

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Jeanna Dacey Wilkes ’12 ’13, a native of Hernando, Miss., is welcomed as the new director of Student Life at Delta State University. In this role, Wilkes will be responsible for directing and supervising the office of Student Life, with the main goal of assisting students and their parents outside of the classroom. 

She takes over after the retirement of longtime director Elsie Lynn Ervin.

“I am delighted to serve within Student Affairs as director of Student Life,” said Wilkes. “I am eager to work with various student organizations and help improve our student engagement across campus. It’s an honor to serve my alma mater and the student body once again, and bring my experiences to this position.”

Involving students in campus life activities will be vital to her role as director. Wilkes will serve as team leader for the Confidential Assessment Response Team, advise the five fraternities of the Interfraternity Council and three sororities of the Panhellenic Council, manage the DSU Parents Association, coordinate the annual Orientation program, and serve in other capacities to support the division of Student Affairs.

Wilkes graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from Delta State in 2012 and was named student director of Orientation, Student Government Association president, and Omicron Delta Kappa vice president. Additionally, she assisted the director of Student Life, Student Organizations Committee and the DSU Parents Association. She was also actively involved in the National Campus Leadership Council, American Israel Public Affairs Committee and Geller SGA Presidents

In 2012, she was named to the DSU Hall of Fame, Who’s Who Among American Colleges and Universities, and received the Bobby Rowe Memorial Outstanding Leadership Award, and the H.E.A.D.W.A.E. Student Honoree Award from Delta State and Mississippi Public Universities. She completed her MBA from Delta State in 2013 while serving as an admissions recruiter in the Office of Admissions.

Wilkes joined the Student Success Center as the Student Success Advisor in 2014. In this role, she coordinated campus-wide Academic Advising Services, academically advised all undeclared students, managed the S.O.S. (Stay Okra Strong) Early Alert program and worked closely with Orientation and First Year Seminar.

Currently, she resides in Cleveland and continues to serve as an instructor for First Year Seminar, DSU’s United Way division chair and is member of the American Association of University Women.

Dr. E.E. “Butch” Caston, serving as the interim vice president for Student Affairs, is thrilled to have Wilkes join the team.

“We are fortunate to have the opportunity to employ someone of Jeanna’s abilities and experiences at Delta State in the position of director of student life,” said Caston.

The Delta State University Alumni Association traveled with staff this summer to attend Mississippi picnics in Atlanta, New York City,  and Washington, D.C.

Alumni Association travels to Mississippi picnics

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The Delta State University Alumni Association has been busy traveling this summer with staff members recently attending Mississippi picnics in New York City, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. The picnics are hosted by Mississippians living in these metropolitan areas and are typically supported by the state’s universities. The events also offer a little taste of home for people living out of state.

The Alumni Association attends each of these events annually to engage with alumni living in the host cities. The association recently established scholarships that are awarded to Delta State students originally from the New York, Atlanta and Washington, D.C.

The Mississippi Society of Georgia held its picnic June 6 in Atlanta’s Chastain Park and was part of an entire weekend of scheduled events. One such event was the Alumni and Celebrity Golf Tournament held at Wolf Creek Golf Course. All proceeds raised went to the Mississippi Society of Georgia Scholarship Fund. The scholarship is given to a student from the greater Atlanta area who will attend a college or university in the state of Mississippi.

Following the tournament, the group hosted a social in the Hank Aaron Room at Turner Field prior to an Atlanta Braves game. The weekend culminated with the picnic in Chastain Park, which included live music, door prizes and Mississippi authors and artists. Jeffrey Farris, director of alumni affairs, attended the picnic.

The 36th annual New York Mississippi Picnic in Central Park was held June 13. This year’s theme was “Elvis is in the Park.” Glen McCullough, executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority, spoke to the crowd and brought greetings from Mississippi. Live music was provided by Jon Paris, Jimmie Rodgers and Pals, and Brandon Bennett, an Elvis tribute artist. There was also an Elvis lookalike contest. Alumni-Foundation staff members in attendance were Jordan Thomas, assistant director of alumni affairs, and Gary Bouse, chief development officer.

The Mississippi on the Mall picnic was held June 20 at Henry Bacon Ball Field in Washington, D.C. The yearly event is sponsored by the Mississippi Society of Washington, D.C., a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the best interests of Mississippi in the nation’s capital. Approximately 500 people attended this year’s event. Live music was provided by Kingfish. Thomas was in attendance representing Delta State, along with Mikel Sykes, SGA president. All three picnics featured catfish and sweet tea.

For more information, contact the Alumni Association at 662-846-4660. To stay up to date on the Alumni Association’s activities, follow these social media sites: Facebook (Statesmen Graduates), Twitter (@DSU_Alumni), Tumblr (, LinkedIn (DSU alumni), Instagram (dsualumni) and You Tube (dsualumni1).

Becky Rosamond, USFWS wildlife biologist, removes a bat from a mistnet at Dahomey.

Students research bats at Dahomey

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The biology summer class Wildlife Techniques recently participated in a bat mist netting event at Dahomey National Wildlife Refuge with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Dr. AHM Ali Reza, assistant professor of wildlife management, partnered with Becky Rosamond, wildlife biologist from USFWS, to conduct the research at Dahomey.

“The main purpose of this recent field exercise was to provide the students with hands-on training in wildlife ecology,” said Reza. “Many of these students will work as wildlife professionals either by getting into a graduate program or by taking a job with state, federal agencies or NGOs immediately after they graduate from Delta State. These type of experiences will better prepare them as qualified wildlife personnel while working with different wildlife species.”

The trip to Dahomey focused on the diversity of the bat population, as well to monitor any infectious diseases the bats may carry. With a team of about 10 students, Rosamond and Reza worked until midnight catching bats in the high humidity and mosquito-infested forest.

“The goal is to learn more about the bats, the only flying mammalian group of animals on the planet,” added Reza. “The team managed to catch a few and examine them up close.”

The wildlife management program at Delta State offers a number of courses where students receive professional job training. For more information on the program, contact Reza at 662-846-4242 or